​Trail Weekend Hootenanny Features Food, Fun and Music

The Trail Weekend Hootenanny, part of Trails & Trilliums and Mountain Goat Trail Race Weekend, will take place April 13 from 4-8 p.m. at Baggenstoss Farms in Tracy City.

Admission of $10 (kids with adults free) covers food donated by local sponsors, including the Smokehouse, Blue Chair Tavern, and Sewanee Dining. Bounce house, zipline, and frisbee golf will be available, and Shane Worley will perform. Beer will be available for purchase from Blue Chair Tavern. Tickets can be purchased at the event or at mountaingoattrail.org/run.
The event is a collaboration between the Friends of South Cumberland State Park and the Mountain Goat Trail Alliance (MGTA). Funds raised will go toward construction of a connector trail between the Mountain Goat Trail and the South Cumberland Visitor Center.
“Together, the MGTA and FSC have identified an opportunity to directly connect the MGT with the State Park Visitor Center, allowing both adults and children, to safely walk, run, or bike there without the need to drive by car or walk or bike along narrow, winding rural roads. We’re glad to co-sponsor this event and to work with the MGTA on this project,” said Naullain Kendrick, president of the Friends.
“We’re excited about this collaboration with the Friends to connect two of the best outdoor recreation resources in our area. We hope people from all over the Plateau will come support our efforts and enjoy themselves at this fun event,” said Patrick Dean, executive director of the MGTA.
Trails and Trilliums, April 12-14, is a multi-day celebration of spring, featuring expertly-guided hikes on many of the South Cumberland State Park’s most scenic trails. The festival offers a full slate of nature-themed speakers and workshops, a fabulous expanded plant sale, and family-oriented activities for the kids. Proceeds go to the Friends of South Cumberland State Park. Learn more or sign up at trailsandtrilliums.org.
Mountain Goat Trail Race Weekend takes place April 13-14. The sixth annual Mountain Goat Trail Run & Walk, featuring a 5-mile run and 2-mile walk, will be held on Saturday, April 13. The second annual Mountain Goat Trail Half Marathon takes place on Sunday, April 14. All proceeds will go to the Mountain Goat Trail Alliance (MGTA) to aid their efforts to complete the Trail.

​Trails & Trilliums Festival, April 12–14

The 16th annual Trails and Trilliums festival, the spring fundraiser for the Friends of South Cumberland State Park and a multi-day celebration of spring, features a record number of expertly-guided hikes on the most scenic trails in and around South Cumberland State Park. The April 12-14 festival, presented this year by Lodge Cast Iron, also offers a full slate of nature-themed speakers and workshops, an expanded native plant sale, free family-oriented activities for the kids, plus evening fundraiser events on both Friday and Saturday.

Capacity is limited on most hikes, talks and workshops. Reserve your place at any of these events by registering at TrailsAndTrilliums.org.
Expertly-guided hikes, to locations in and around the South Cumberland State Park, leave from the DuBose Conference Center on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This year, Trails and Trilliums features a record 26 unique guided hikes, both long and short, rated from easy to strenuous, and led by some of the region’s most expert guides. The hike lineup includes adventures focusing on wildflowers, salamanders and snakes, Civilian Conservation Corps history, birds, nature photography, geology, and much more. Hikes will take you to many amazing and beautiful places, including Denny Cove, Foster Falls, Fiery Gizzard, Grundy Forest, Sherwood Forest, Sewanee Natural Bridge, Shakerag Hollow, and other spectacular springtime locations.
The expanded Native Plant Sale, Programs, Workshops, Food & Music are at the DuBose Conference Center (times vary; see full schedule at <TrailsAndTrilliums.org>).
Friday’s 5:30-7 p.m. Wine & Wildflowers celebration and fundraiser is at the Monteagle Inn, and is generously sponsored by Tower Community Bank. This features the presentation of the Trails and Trilliums Tribute Award.
Saturday’s free 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Children’s Activities are at the South Cumberland State Park Visitor Center, with thanks to sponsors Doug Ferris and John Canale.
Saturday evening’s Trail Weekend Hootenanny fundraiser is at Baggenstoss Farms in Tracy City, starting at 4 p.m. This is presented by the Friends of South Cumberland and the Mountain Goat Trail Alliance to raise funds for a new paved connector between the Mountain Goat Trail and the South Cumberland State Park Visitor Center. The Baggenstoss Farms is off of Clouse Hill Road in Tracy City.
Trails and Trilliums has 16 talks and workshops (Friday, Saturday, Sunday at the DuBose Conference Center) on topics ranging from nature journaling to birding, edible plants, watercolor, fairy houses, and more. Highlights of the talk and workshop schedule include:
Keynote Address by author and naturalist Stephen Bales, noon on Saturday;
Cumberland Wild Panel: “Free Play/Nature Play,” 1 p.m., Saturday, free admission;
Tennessee Naturalist Panel: “Would you like to be a Tennessee Naturalist?,” at 2 p.m., Saturday, free admission;
Mary Priestley introduces her newest book, “Sewanee Wildflowers in Watercolor”; talk and book signings at 11 a.m., Saturday and noon, Sunday, free admission.
This year, Trails and Trilliums also celebrates the grand opening of two new areas of South Cumberland State Park: the new Nature Play area, on the Meadow Trail at the park’s Visitor Center and the new Interpretive Trail at the site of the 1930s-era Civilian Conservation Corps camp in Grundy Forest.
For more information and to register go to <TrailsAndTrilliums.org>.

​‘Taming of the Shrew’, March 7

Theatre/Sewanee will present William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, March 7–9, at 7:30 p.m., with a Sunday matinee March 10 at 2 p.m., at the Tennessee Williams Center. Admission is free with reservations available at eventbrite.com.

“The Taming of the Shrew,” one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies, features the madcap Petruchio who woos Katherina, the perfect wife in every respect but one—she is an intolerable shrew. From their first explosive meeting, Petruchio subjects Kate to a series of verbal and physical indignities under the pretext of kindness. Despite her resistance, she is finally ready to swear that the sun is the moon or that an old man is a fair virgin if Petruchio insists. By the end of the play, Kate defends marriage as strongly as she denounced it in the beginning of their courtship.
Heading the cast are guest artist Raymond McAnally as Petruchio and Karissa Wheeler as Kate.
“The Taming of the Shrew” is directed by Peter Smith with scenery designed by Chynna Bradford, costumes designed by Danielle Silfies, and lighting designed by Liam Corley. Caitlin Berends is production stage manager.

​8th Annual Campus Gallery Walk

The University of the South will host its 8th annual Campus Gallery Walk on Saturday, March 2 from 4 to 7 p.m., with exhibitions, receptions, and performances across campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Come enjoy the play of Jiha Moon’s “Familiar Faces “in the University Art Gallery, an exhibition of paintings, ceramic sculpture, and prints freely combining faces and figures from East and West, high and low. Peter Povey (violin) and Courtney World (dance) will perform in the University Art Gallery at 4:15, 5:15 and 6:15 p.m. Annie Bowers (violin) and Erin Elliot (cello) will perform in the lobby of Guerry at 4:45 and 5:45 p.m.
Explore our community’s past in Sewanee Historic Houses in the Museum Gallery of Archives and Special Collections, with the vocal quartet of Maddy Hitel, Caitlin Berends, Oliver Postic, and Ethan White, and dance by Sadira Hayes and others. Performances are 4:15, 5:15 and 6:15 p.m.
Experience how Carris Adams’ vibrant paintings evoke the city and its urban neighborhoods in “Sweepstakes Red” in the Carlos Gallery of the Nabit Art Building, with Caleb Thorn’s percussion, and dance by Robin Kate Davis and others. Performances are 4:15, 5:15 and 6:15 p.m.
In Stirling’s Coffee House, surrounded by the Sewanee Herbarium’s “All Things Bright and Beautiful,” harpist Molly Morgan will play at 4:45 and 5:45 p.m.

​Rotary Club Chili Cook-off in March

The first annual Monteagle-Sewanee Rotary Club Chili Cook-off will be on Saturday, March 30, in the Cushman Room at the Women’s Center on Mississippi Avenue, Sewanee.
If you consider your chili recipe extraordinary or just plain good, then enter as a team and find out. Entry fees are $50 for community teams and $25 for student teams. Judging takes place at noon. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place, and people’s choice. Registration forms and rules are online at monteaglerotary.org.
Event tickets are $10 per person, with children under 12 free. Included in the ticket price is the chili tasting from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., corn bread, a cold beverage and a vote for the People’s Choice Award. Tickets are available from Rotary Club members and will be sold at the door.
Proceeds from this fundraiser benefit Sewanee’s Haiti Institute, Heart to Heart, and the Sewanee Summer Music Festival.
Sponsors are also needed. To become a sponsor of this event contact Kathy Henslee at <kbhenslee@gmail.com>. Sponsorship forms are also available on the website monteaglerotary.org.

​SUD Elects Officers

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the Feb. 26 meeting the Sewanee Utility District Board of Commissioners elected officers for the coming year. The board also voted to pay an optional activity fee to the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts (TAUD) earmarked for support of lobbying activity.
All 2018 SUD officers were reelected, with Charlie Smith continuing as president, Randall Henley as vice president and Art Hanson as secretary.
Questioning whether paying the TAUD fee earmarked for lobbying was lawful, SUD manager Ben Beavers consulted Don Scholes, SUD’s attorney and attorney for TAUD.
Scholes cited a Tennessee Attorney General opinion which concluded “the payment of taxpayer funds by the city to a municipal league which used a portion of those funds for lobbying was the expenditure of funds for a valid municipal purpose.” The opinion defined a valid municipal purpose as “anything which promotes the public health, safety, morals, general welfare, security, prosperity, and contentment of the residents within the municipal corporation.”
Smith pointed out that more than 3,000 bills were introduced into the legislature each session. “Someone needs to look at those bills on our behalf. If something unfavorable slipped through, it could be a nightmare.”
Funds earmarked for health care insurance in the commissioners’ planning and governance budget will be used to pay the $700 fee. No commissioners opted to enroll in SUD’s health care plan for 2019.
In another issue with legislative ramifications, the board reviewed information on the commissioner election practices of other utility districts. SUD is only one of eight districts which elects commissioners and only one of two with term limits. Commissioner selection rules were set by the government act establishing the utilities and would require a government act to be changed.
Customers’ unwillingness to serve as commissioners prompted the board to investigate changing the rules.
“The issue isn’t the term limit, but how quickly we can put someone back on the board without them sitting out,” said Smith. At the present, a commissioner who has served two four-year terms must sit out for a full four-year term before serving again. “We’re at the mercy of the county mayor if we can’t fill a commissioner seat. The mayor might appoint someone from Estill Springs who doesn’t even live in the district.”
Beavers will inquire about the legal options at an upcoming TAUD meeting.
Updating the board on the waterline replacement project, Beavers said the line was completed and passed all bacteriological tests, all customers had been tied into the new line, and the old line had been cut off.
“There’s still some brush and concrete that needs hauled off, straw bales and silk fencing needed in areas that have washed, and some pea gravel sidewalks, asphalt and concrete work left to do.”
“The project came in well under budget,” Beavers reported. SUD completed the waterline replacement without borrowing money by drawing on cash reserves. Replacing the old leak-prone line has reduced water loss by 20,000-25,000 gallons per day.
Beavers called the board’s attention to a Midway customer’s request for two water taps on his property. The customer claimed his father and a previous landowner paid for the taps in 1975 when the line was put in. The customer has no receipt or documentation.
SUD records from that period show no pre-selling of taps and no record of how many taps were paid for. Beavers acknowledged record keeping was lax then.
“If we approved him we would need to approve others without documentation,” Henley said.
Beavers noted the customer could save money by servicing two residences from one tap, a practice in compliance with SUD regulations as long as the customer owned both residences.

​Black History: Celebrating Gifts from the Past

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

“During the Civil War we were slaves,” said Civil War re-enactor and gifted artist Sunday Perkins of her ancestors. “I’m proud of them. I know them through how I feel. I feel creative. I feel encouraged. I feel like going on to see what the end’s going to be. I had to inherit that from someone.”
Perkins set the stage for keynote presenter Gary Burks at the Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church African American history and culture celebration on Feb. 23. Portraying a black woman nurse and a United States Colored Troops (USCT) soldier, Perkins and Burks took the audience back in time.
Featured in Oxford American magazine, Civil War Times, and the Civil War TV series “Blood and Fury,” re-enactor Burks was drawn to the calling by the film “Glory.” The movie depicts the heroic action of one of the first USCT regiments in the 1863 Battle of Fort Wagner. Burks joined the ranks of a Nashville re-enactment group only to discover years later that his great-great-grandfather Peter Bailey fought in the Civil War. Researching his deceased father’s records, Burks learned his great-great-grandmother received a USCT pension from the U.S. Army.
“Over 200,000 black soldiers and sailors fought in the Civil War,” Burks said.
Outfitted in the period costume of a USCT soldier, Burks told the story of the black troops in poetry and song. USCT regiments comprised 10 percent of the manpower of the Union army. Over 20,000 of those troops came from Tennessee. Nineteen hundred USCT soldiers are buried at the Nashville National Cemetery on Gallatin Road.
Quoting Frederick Douglas, African American orator, statesman, and former slave, Burks said, “Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letter, U.S., let him get an eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder and bullets in his pocket, there is no power on earth that can deny that he has earned the right to citizenship.”
A gifted painter and illustrator who taught art in the Franklin County Public Schools for over 30 years, Perkins’ calling to join the ranks of Civil War re-enactors came when she viewed a photograph of African American Civil War nurse Elizabeth Fairfax buried and honored as a Civil War veteran.
“She looked like kin,” Perkins said of Fairfax. “I wanted to represent all the black ladies never recognized.”
Fairfax received no pension. After the war she had a photograph made of herself and sold copies. “She took in laundry, she worked,” said Perkins. “Every talent you have, you should put it to use.”
Asked how long she had been drawing and painting, Perkins thought for a moment before replying. “Always. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t.”
Sandra Kennerly Brown has coordinated the annual Mt. Sinai black history and culture celebration for more than 30 years. Many of the celebrants attending wore colorful attire evoking their African roots.
“Without history we would not know our greatness,” said Pastor John Patton in closing. “Those who brought us here are a vital part of who we have become. We have to rise above what others have been telling us. We cannot let others define who we are.”

​BP Construction: Why, What, Where, and When

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

The announcement that the University tapped BP Construction to serve as the lead development partner for the University’s Sewanee Village project raised many questions. Seven developers and builders had recently been invited to submit housing proposals.
“The Sewanee Village Project was not necessarily assigned to one developer, but one developer will be working with us on the entire project,” explained Frank Gladu, who oversees implementation of the Sewanee Village Plan. “Rather than getting a developer for every single piece of the project, it was clear having a coordinator, someone who could see all aspects of the Village Plan would be beneficial.”
The five priority initiatives are the new bookstore, narrowing Highway 41A to calm traffic, a mixed-use food market and apartment building, a village green, and affordable housing, especially multi-family units.
“Other developers might be involved,” Gladu insisted. “BP is our master developer who will be our partner through every aspect of the project whether it’s the village green, narrowing Highway 41, or housing. The proposals submitted by other developers are still being evaluated. This is in no way an attempt to not utilize the other developers under consideration.”
BP Construction Company, Inc. is a Chattanooga-based company providing high-end residential and commercial construction and development services owned by Ooltewah, Tenn., native Barry Payne.
At a recent Village Planning update meetings, Gladu mentioned discussion being underway with a developer about constructing a mixed-use grocery and apartment building on the lot currently occupied by the Hair Depot. That developer was BP.
“We’ve been talking with them two and a half years,” Gladu said. “One of BP’s roles will be finding an operator for the specialty food market. They have good experience in finding operators to provide services.”
If things proceed as planned, BP would be the leaseholder of the lot, own the mixed-use building, and lease the retail space on the ground floor as well as the apartments on the upper floor or floors. This model with the leaseholder renting out retail space in buildings they own is not uncommon in Sewanee, Gladu pointed out, citing the lot and building housing Sewanee Dry Cleaners, Big A Marketing, and the Frame Gallery.
Gladu noted that to make the “economics work,” BP was exploring a variation of the original idea for the mixed-use market-apartment building, with possibly a smaller footprint than the 10,000 square feet initially proposed and two stories instead of three.
Gladu conceded breaking ground this spring “might be optimistic,” but he commended BP’s eagerness to move forward.
Jim Cheney, BP Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, will be on hand to answer questions at the morning session of the next Village Planning update meeting, at 10 a.m., Tuesday, March 5, at the Blue Chair.
“BP has experience in actual doing. So far, it’s only been planners and consultants guiding the Village Plan,” Gladu stressed. “They’ve hung in there with us over a long period of time. They understand what we want to do. They’re not interested in just one project. BP wants to be involved in all aspects of having a viable downtown. They see the big picture, that having visitors and events on the green are all the parts of the process of trying to create activity that will support business.”

​University of the South Taps Chattanooga Developer to Begin Work on Sewanee Village Project

The University of the South has named Chattanooga-based BP Construction to serve as the lead development partner for the university’s Sewanee Village project.

Sewanee Village is a mixed-use concept created to provide more residential and commercial/retail options for the university’s faculty, staff and students as well as full-time residents of Sewanee and adjoining communities. BP Construction will oversee all development, construction and marketing activity within the Village in coordination with university leadership and Nashville-based Town Planning & Urban Design Collaborative, which master-planned the Village.
“The Sewanee Village project is an important component of the University’s growth as it relates to enriching the overall student and faculty experience,” said John M. McCardell Jr., vice-chancellor of the University of the South. “We have spent significant time developing a plan that balances the traditional and existing aspects of our downtown, and we are excited to have a development partner in place that fully understands our concept and shares our vision.”
With more than 30 years of development and contracting experience, BP Construction’s current Chattanooga projects include Cambridge Square in Ooltewah, Tenn., and the West Village, a downtown Chattanooga revitalization project that includes the newly designed Westin Hotel and streetscape remediation and improvement along the Chestnut and Pine Street corridors. Specific to the Sewanee area, BP Vice President of Construction Jeff Garner (who will oversee the Sewanee Village activity) served as the project manager for the construction of the Templeton Library. Additional BP clients include the Honors Golf Course, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and Hamilton County, Tennessee schools.
Phase one of the Village project will include mult-family units and ground level commercial and retail spaces. In addition, the university is considering locations for small pockets of for-sale residential homes. Architectural designs are underway for the initial commercial building, with the anticipation that site work will commence in the spring of 2019.
While the vision for the Village was initiated by the university, part of the overall strategy is to position this portion of the Cumberland Plateau as a destination for travelers seeking activities along the I-24 corridor between Nashville and Chattanooga. Part of BP Construction’s marketing approach will involve reaching out to local brands within the larger region to recruit their involvement in economic development and tourism initiatives.
“We are thrilled to be involved with this project,” said Jim Cheney, VP of Marketing for BP Construction. “The University of the South is a prestigious institution and their vision for a vibrant village has tremendous potential. When you consider the natural beauty and amenities of the location and the historical and cultural impact of the university, you have the makings of something special. We are honored to have been selected as their development partner and look forward to getting started.”

​‘The Light of the World’ Reading

by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer
An original play written by Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder, Tennessee Williams Playwright-in-Residence and visiting professor of English at the University of the South, will be read at 4 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 24, in Convocation Hall. A reception will follow and the event is free and open to the public.
“The Light of the World” will be directed by Freddie Ashley, artistic director for Actor’s Express in Atlanta, and performed by Jim Crawford, associate professor of theatre at the University, as well as professional actors from Atlanta and Nashville.
The play revolves around the controversy of a small Confederate flag in a church window.
“It’s a story about a church in the South,” said Wilder. “And, there’s a new priest. When a violent incident occurs, the presence of the Confederate flag in their window is called into question. Basically, the church must decide how they want to deal with the issue and how much of the past they want to continue to honor versus who their church is now. It’s a story about confronting and taking responsibility for our past,” Wilder said.
Wilder, who is originally from Mobile, Ala., said the idea for the play came to her a few years ago after visiting a church in Alabama that had a Confederate flag in its window.
“The message the flag sends is so in opposition of what Christianity sends in terms of equality and fairness and justice. That people thought it was a good idea to have these two representations together is something I wanted to explore,” she said. “I hope everyone is entertained, but I also hope it helps promote conversation and dialogue. I think that’s a big part of what theatre is here to do. The play isn’t just about confederate iconography—it addresses our relationship with the word racist and with racism, how we often justify the actions of others that we know to be racist and how we often apologize away those actions in the conversations we have.”
The play was read for the first time in October of last year as part of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s southern writers branch.
“That was the first time I heard the play out loud and in front of an audience. I received some really great feedback that I’ve been able to apply to a new draft,” Wilder said.
“I am particularly excited to do the play in Sewanee because it’s an issue that the University is currently grappling on their own. I think the work that is being done through the reconciliation project is incredibly important to the school and the community because it’s not just a reflection of who we are and it’s a reflection of who we hope to become.”
Ashley of Actor’s Express said the reading will provide an access point to a difficult, but crucial conversation about race.
“I think all of us in the south today are continuing to grapple with our history, and to fully understand it can be a fraught process. When we have a story about people doing just that, there’s a lot of value to it,” he said. “I think that all of us who live in the south, all of us have a shared responsibility to confront our history. No matter what our immediate circumstances are in our life, we are the inheritors of this legacy of racism and violence against African Americans. How that has filtered through to today is something that is necessary to explore so we can continue to move forward toward unity. It’s an easy trap to fall into that those problems are the problems of the past. In fact, the residue of that legacy continues to stick to us even now.”
Ashley and Wilder have known each other for about 15 years, but this weekend will be the first time they’ll get to work together. The group of actors will rehearse on Saturday for the first time, and Gregory Wilder said she will be working on the play up until Friday evening.
“Different readings take on different forms, but the typical set up you could expect is the actors will be standing behind music stands reading from the script,” Ashley said. “I think one of the great things art can do is create space that will hold difficult conversations. Everybody who attends a play is at once having a private personal experience with their own reactions. They’re also having a shared experience with everyone that is there. That can be said about the way we go through our lives too. When you can create a space through a piece of work that allows the space in between to be a place of conversation, that’s huge. Art can facilitate that in a way other outlets may not be able to.”
This event is funded by the Sewanee Writers’ Conference.

​Askew Opens Art Gallery

by Sarah Beavers, Messenger Staff Writer
Bob Askew, a longtime resident of Sewanee, recently opened up his own art gallery in the old SUD shop behind Woody’s Bicycles in downtown Sewanee.
Askew has been a professional artist for more than a decade. Prior to his full-time art career, he worked in Career Services at the University.
Askew started college as an art major, born out of a life long love of art. He soon switched majors and graduated from the University of Alabama-Huntsville with a bachelors degree in Business Finance. Askew’s love of art ensured he took art classes throughout college.
“I rely on my sketchbook and practice everyday,” Askew said while thumbing through his many sketchbooks. It is clear from the breadth and scope of his work tucked away in those sketchbooks that practice does make perfect, or very nearly there.
Askew has been a fixture of the Sewanee community for many years and has worn a variety of hats, working with the Rotary Club, Friday School at Sewanee Elementary, to a sketch group that meets on Saturday.
“It’s important to get people involved in arts,” Askew said of his community involvement. “Some of the best experiences I have had is teaching. When a person teaches what they know, it’s a great gift for all those involved.”
The gallery opening is the beginning of a new chapter in Askew’s career. The future of the studio is bright because “Sewanee supports creative people,” said Askew. His gallery is a labor of love, and Askew credits his wife, Susan, with his success.
“I have to give Susan a lot of credit for supporting me because it has been a long, slow journey,” said Askew.
Askew plans on having a still life exhibition in March, and an exhibition of artwork from local elementary school students in the future.
The Askew Art Gallery is located at 12547 Sollace M. Freeman Hwy., Sewanee. The gallery is open 10 a.m.–3 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, or by appointment. Email Askew at <bobaskew@askewart.com> to inquire about the Saturday sketching group.

​Recovering Sewanee’s Black History: What Is Needed

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
“Sewanee was founded by white southern men, but there were black people here from the beginning and nobody can find anything about their history,” said Shirley Taylor. Taylor serves on the newly formed Sewanee Black History Community Advisory Board and the Sewanee Black History Days working group. An African-American born and raised in Sewanee who’s lived here for 65 years, Taylor is well suited for the dual roles. The two entities share overlapping missions and roots in the Sewanee Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation.
The Sewanee Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation originated as a University initiative driven by faculty, staff and students.
“We wanted to involve local people in the project and give them a voice at the table to diversify perspectives,” said project coordinator Woody Register, a University history professor. “You can’t reach out to the community unless you’re willing to listen to them.”
Visiting professor Jody Allen suggested creating a community advisory board. Director of the reconciliation project at the College of William and Mary, Allen spent last year in Sewanee teaching and advising the Sewanee reconciliation project. For the advisory board, Allen and Register reached out to people outside the University who believed in the work they were doing, notably several African-Americans like Taylor and Jimmy Staten who were born and raised in Sewanee, and Sewanee business owner Bruce Manuel, C’80, who teaches Pilates.
Register pulled together the Sewanee Black History Days working group to help coordinate two upcoming events designed to recover and preserve Sewanee’s African-American history, a project funded by a $12,000 National Endowment for the Humanities Common Heritage grant.
Scheduled for May 27, Memorial Day, and July 5, at St. Mark’s Community Center, the events will offer African-Americans with Sewanee roots an opportunity to record oral histories, to locate Sewanee sites of importance to African-Americans on a large map, and to have personal historical material photographed or scanned. They’ll receive a digital copy and be invited to share a digital copy with the University archives.
The traditional archiving method is to take possession of the material, Register emphasized—“We’re going against that model, changing the politics of archiving.” People will return home with their treasured photographs, scrapbooks, bibles and other memorabilia safely in tow.
The map initiative will invite people to locate family homes and sites meaningful to them such as favorite childhood places to play by marking the map with Post-It notes inscribed with memories and details.
Key in organizing the events is working group member Carl Hill, an African-American born and raised in Sewanee who coordinates the black community’s annual Memorial Day homecoming at St. Marks.
“People off the mountain titled us Sewaneeseans,” said Hill who now lives in McMinnville. “Sewanee is still my home. I’m just living abroad,” he joked.
Hill stressed how drastically the African-American community had “thinned out” since the 1970s. “A much larger black community lived and worked on the Mountain then.” He estimates there were as many as 50 black families in the 1970s and today, maybe a dozen.
Hill sees his role as reaching out to older people who grew up in Sewanee like Sandra Turner Davis whose Sewanee childhood story spans the time frame of the mid fifties and sixties and Atlanta resident Charlie Bright who lived in Sewanee from the late 1930s to the late 1950s.
“Carl knows everyone,” Register said. In forming the working group, Register sought out people with Sewanee roots who could be ambassadors.
In addition to the summer digitization days, other events are planned for this spring including genealogy and oral history workshops.
“We hope these kinds of endeavors strengthen community bonds and connections to the community, in light of the history of race, in a way that’s constructive and positive,” said Register.

​‘Mine 21’: Future Plans

This past fall, the short documentary “Mine 21” about the fatal coal mine explosion in Marion County was screened several times in Monteagle, Sewanee and Whitwell. It was estimated more than 1,300 people came to the screenings.
The film follows Kelsey Arbuckle and Alexa Fults, both from Grundy County and current students at Sewanee, as they find out more about this event. The disaster took place in Whitwell, Tenn., on Dec. 8, 1981, and 13 miners died. The effect in Marion and Grundy counties was tragic.
Arbuckle’s grandfather, Charles Myers was one of the miners killed in the explosion. Her grandmother, Barbara Myers, testified before Congress in the 1987 federal lawsuit.
Fults’ fifth great-uncle, Thomas Wooten, discovered coal on the Plateau in 1852. She was writing a research paper exploring the effects of the collapse of the coal mining industry on the local economy when Arbuckle asked her to be part of this project.
“We were overwhelmed by the response at the screenings,” said Chris McDonough, a professor at the University of the South and the film’s executive producer. “Many people came up to me or to Kelsey and Alexa to ask what would be happening next with the documentary. A few people have contacted me about other screenings or buying a copy of the documentary.”
“I want to let people know we haven’t forgotten these requests, and I appreciate everybody’s patience,” said McDonough. “Right now, the film is only 15 minutes long. That’s entirely due to budget constraints. Since the fall, we’ve been able to secure more funds and are looking to expand the film. I’ve been in touch with the PBS stations in Chattanooga and Nashville, and they are very interested in broadcasting the documentary once it is at least a half-hour long.”
McDonough and his crew have plans for additional filming this spring, and hope to be able to get something onto television in the months to follow.
“This is such an important story,” McDonough said. “Not only for people in this area, but for anybody interested in coal mining. We will certainly be screening the longer version locally, once it is completed.”

To see the trailer and for more information, go to www.mine21.com

​Monteagle Approves $400,000 for Fire Hall

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At a special called meeting Feb. 12, the Monteagle City Council approved spending up to $400,000 for a new fire hall.
“We met with St. John Engineering, and we have a preliminary site plan,” said Vice Mayor Tony Gilliam.
The design calls for locating the 88 foot by 65 foot metal building on the lot where the former fire hall was located, at the corner of College Street and North Central Avenue. Interior specifics include a day room with a warming kitchen, training room, laundry, and a 53 foot by 65 foot three bay apparatus room with three 12-foot-high glass doors. Faux stone veneer would cover the lower three feet of the exterior.
“The aesthetics need to fit in with what’s around it,” Gilliam said.
“With a few minor changes it’s about what we envisioned,” said Fire Chief Mike Holmes. Holmes suggested several design modifications that “would make the building more functional to us as a department, but wouldn’t affect the footprint.”
Holmes recommended increasing the apparatus doors’ height to 14 feet. “Decherd Fire Department recently got a new ladder truck and had to notch their building and increase the door height to get the truck inside. So much goes on a truck now, and you can’t make them any wider so they need to get taller.”
Holmes also suggested a rear door to the apparatus room so trucks parked in the rear could exit the building without being blocked by trucks parked in the front.
The fire department will continue to use a small building on the rear of the lot, but Holmes expressed concern about inadequate drainage. “The building floods badly. It terrifies me when I unplug a truck standing in ankle deep water.”
The site plan would include storm drains Gilliam reassured him.
“We need to set a budget,” said Alderwoman Rebecca Byers.
“We’re going to build what we can afford to build,” Gilliam stressed. Monteagle’s budget includes $468,000 for a new fire hall. “I talked to a couple folks and we’re looking at a $350,000 price range.” Gilliam recommended and the council approved setting a ceiling of $400,000 on the construction cost.
A final design plan is needed from the engineers to determine a more accurate cost estimate.
Holmes asked for approval to pursue readily available grant opportunities to purchase a new cascade system so the department could fill their air bottles to capacity, an extractor dryer to clean turnout gear, and an exhaust system to remove vehicle fumes.
“I’m all for grants. Now’s the time to start,” Byers said.
The council meets in regular session on Feb. 25.

​Phillips Winner of the Aiken Taylor Award

The winner of the Sewanee Review’s 2019 Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry is Carl Phillips. Phillips has authored 14 books of poetry, including “Wild is the Wind” (2018) and “Reconnaissance” (2015), as well as two books of criticism: “The Art of Daring: Risk, Restlessness, Imagination,” and “Coin of the Realm: Essays on the Life and Art of Poetry.” He has received numerous literary honors, including the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was a finalist for the National Book Award.
The 33rd Aiken Taylor celebration will take place Feb. 26 and 27. University Vice-Chancellor John McCardell and Sewanee Review editor Adam Ross will present Phillips with the award at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 27, in Convocation Hall, after which Phillips will read from his body of work. On Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 4:30 p.m., poet, novelist, and critic Garth Greenwell will lecture on Phillips’ poetry in the McGriff Alumni House. Greenwell is the author of “What Belongs to You,” and is currently the John & Renee Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi.
Phillips’ poems reveal a searching intelligence, and a curiosity about the world at its most elemental. In his poem, “Sky Coming Forward,” from his National Book Award-nominated collection Double Shadow, he asks, “What if, between this one and the one / we hoped for, there’s a third life, taking its own / slow, dreamlike hold, even now—blooming, in spite of us?” Such questions of impermanence suffuse his work, and encourage us to approach the poems (and, perhaps, our own experiences) with the same ineffable wonder. As Garth Greenwell explains, “Phillips has fashioned himself as our great searching poet of ambivalence—ambivalence conceived not (as we sometimes use the word) as signifying vague or unformed feelings, but instead opposing desires held in suspension, exactingly measured and found to be of equal weight.”

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